At the heart of the Dhargenaas continent lays Malcaresh the northernmost city of the Southern Empire of the Careshi. Originally it was an independent trade nexus; it became the first focus of Imperial military aggression.
The result is a huge city compromised of two vastly different building styles. The original buildings from seven centuries ago have not been torn down, for the Careshi value art, architecture and history above anything else. While symbols of national pride and importance are not allowed in the conquered nations, local ingenuity and cleverness is encouraged and praised among the Caliph Governors.
When approaching the city by the river one would notice its huge brownish red city walls and the numerous minarets soaring above the roofs. One would also notice the impossibly tall Clock Tower of white marble and a huge bridge with statues of majestic men along the rim.
Originally the city had fortifications of brownish red stone and interior buildings of white plaster covered bricks. These buildings are most carefully maintained, although the plaster is coming off some of the buildings located in the Old Quarters. These buildings are square shaped, as are the fortifications. Some of the Old Quarter buildings have an undeniably romantic feel with red tiles, white plaster and small forested gardens surrounded by 6 feet tall brick and plaster walls. In this section of the city, the cobblestones cover the streets and the brownish red city walls divide the area into small enclaves. Connecting these are small arching city gates whose portcullises are lowered between dusk and dawn. Only those with night passes can travel during these hours, so the Old Quarters see little festivities and night life.
In the Old Quarters live the descendants of the original population and they still retain their unique clothing and way of life. Their original language is forbidden and its use is punishable by death, yet still it is being taught in damp cellars and dusty warehouses. Gauthians they call themselves and they walk with a strong sense of personal dignity and an air of superiority. Their clothing consists of sandals, togas and cloaks and they prefer to wield the broadsword if it comes to battle. A favorite pastime of the Old Quarter citizens is the gathering in the plentiful local cafeterias and eating vegetable dishes with feta cheese and olives. In addition they love board games and Badish is a game akin to chess that is often played outside the cafeterias.
Close to the River Firien is the Dock District. Here the local ferrymen wait to bring passengers up or downstream and here the is the Bridge of the Fourteen Caliphs, an architectural masterpiece displaying statues of the Fourteen Caliphs that have ruled the city since its capture seven centuries ago. Local fishermen make their base in the Dock District and thus the beaches are crowded with hundreds of small dinghies that have been pulled ashore. And every day at six in the morning, the fish market opens in the dock quarters, and servants from all over the city hurry to buy the very best for their lords.
The buildings in this area are more ramshackle than elsewhere and the Dock District is indeed the city slum. There is no cobbling on the streets and often the poor erect their tents and crude shacks on the smaller streets. The city guard cleanses the area once a week but still the shacks return just hours after the guards are gone. The nightlife is notorious and no sane man parties here without a few strong friends and a sharpened sword at his side.
Of particular note in the Dock District is the old Temple of Aahr, the god of time and death. It is a clock tower whose bells strike only at midday and midnight or when a funeral is held within. The tower walls are of a white rose coloured marble, and all corners of the hexagonal building has a statue protruding from each of the twenty floors. These statues depict humans in the varying stages of ageing. The poor are not granted burial within the catacombs of the tower, but once a week the priesthood sends forth their acolytes to perform the ritual mass burial in the slums.
The Imperial Quarters are dominated by huge avenues and streets which are often the scene of military parades and religious festivity. This is the primary area of Imperial architecture and the use of red bricks is predominant. As with all Imperial architecture, details are important and every arched window is decorated with delicate mosaic edges. The use of cobblestone is predominant except for the main avenues, where mosaic tiles cover everything and surround the base of the majestic birches that has been planted with regular intervals all the way from the South Gate to the Palace of the Caliph Governor. The mosaic patterns are not detailed, like those you find on the windows and indoors, but they combine to create a beautiful wholeness along with the architecture and trees.
The Imperials themselves favour Bedouin robes with deep hoods. Every male Imperial will be armed with at least a curved dagger and the sons of the rich will carry scimitars and round shields. Soldiers wear chainmail while the officers have the added protection of breastplates and steel gauntlets and helmets. The Imperials do not mix with the original Gauthian population, but there is no longer any hostility either. The Imperials favour horse races and there is a tremendous pride involved with the ownership of horses. The Malcareshian horses has a reputation to be incredibly fast and exceedingly beautiful.
At the heart of the city, on the Twin Hills of the Lord, one can find the Palace of the Caliph Governor. Here the minarets soar above the domed palace sections and the locals tell of the hundred gardens of pleasure, where the Governor plays with his harem all night long. In this palace rests the academy of the curved sword, whose swordsmen are among the finest of the land. And here one can find the Imperial Theatre where bards and musicians, actors and artists gather to outperform each other.
The city of Malcaresh is filled with charming locations and is more known for its open and friendly population than for splendid military parades. But as the frontier city in the ongoing war against the enemy from the north, they do have a large standing army. Trade has suffered ever since the declaration of war two years ago, and thus the city has seen some decline from its former position as the nexus of Caravan activity.